An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


Adherence of a church or denomination to particular standards, expressions, confessions, doctrines, or symbols of faith. Confessional statements focus and codify the beliefs of a church or denomination, and distinguish the church's beliefs from the beliefs of others outside the church. Many confessional statements were made during the era of reformation and counter-reformation, including the Augsburg Confession (Lutheran), the Westminster Confession (Presbyterian), the Thirty-Nine Articles (Anglican), and the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent (Roman Catholic). Confessional statements were the basis for catechetical training by each church. For some, the term “confessionalism” has a pejorative meaning that suggests narrowness and exclusivity on the part of the confessional church. This may result from a stance by church authorities that a particular confession or statement of faith is necessary for salvation or church membership.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.